Nearly half of North America’s bird species, and about 40 percent of its waterfowl, spend at least part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway. Extending north to Canada’s tundra and boreal forest, this much-traveled flyway includes the vast Mackenzie River watershed and then follows the mighty Mississippi through America’s heartland to the Gulf Coast and continues south as far as Patagonia.
The Mississippi River and its vibrant grasslands, forests, and wetlands have been compromised by a century of misguided management. All along its length, the river has been controlled and manipulated to the detriment of natural systems and the birds and other wildlife that depend on them. The upper river is governed by a series of dams and locks; the lower river is channeled by more than 1,600 miles of levees. Together, these structures confine the Mississippi to less than 10 percent of its original floodplain, and the sediment that historically fed the river’s vast delta in Louisiana no longer reaches marshes and coastal forests. As a result, 19 square miles of delta wetlands disappear each year.
But Audubon is making a difference for the birds, habitats, and communities of the Mississippi Flyway. Learn more about our work by following the links below.
Audubon Offices in the Flyway